How to find the balance between shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity

All three key parameters are interrelated. The amount of light entering the camera can be increased by raising the ISO, opening the aperture, and slowing the shutter speed. At the same time, for each parameter there is a side effect: an increased ISO leads to an increase in distortion (noise) in the image, an increased aperture decreases the depth of field, and with an increase in shutter speed, handheld shooting and dynamic scenes becomes more difficult. Therefore, your skill as a photographer will be to learn over time to understand how to act in each situation. This will definitely come with experience.


In the meantime, you can build on the following two recommendations:


When shooting with a smartphone handheld, the shutter speed should not be longer than 1 / 100th of a second. At 1/50 or more, you are unlikely to keep the smartphone motionless and objects in the frame will be “smeared”. There may be variations for each camera and situation, but start at 1/100 to find the ideal value. Fast subjects will only stay still in the photo if you shoot at very fast shutter speeds. In most cases, you don’t have enough light for this.

To reduce the amount of photographic noise, try to keep the sensitivity value as low as possible. However, with this setting, you will not get good shots when shooting handheld in the dark and indoors. In such cases, feel free to raise the ISO value until you can get to the shutter speed recommended by us (see the previous tip). The flash will help you in the part of the subjects, but you should understand that the flash does not solve all the problems, as it makes the illumination of objects extremely uneven, especially when shooting outdoors.


Manual focus

At first glance, it seems strange to use manual focus when there is automatic focus. However, the latter often fails and is fixed in the wrong place. Autofocus does not work well when there is a lack of light: in this situation, as a rule, it just aims “at something” and usually it is a slightly better-lit subject in the foreground. It makes sense to use manual focus in subject shooting or when you need to aim at an area that is not entirely obvious to the camera. This is not easy, but very simple – just click on the screen at that point in the frame, which should be sharp, and the smartphone camera will focus on it.


Modern phones have a special mode that allows you to sharpen a single object and blur the background around it. In Samsung, for example, this is the Live Focus function, in other smartphones it can be called Bokeh, Aperture, etc. Here, too, everything is simple: turn on the mode, click on the desired point in the frame, and then use the slider to set the degree blurring the environment.


White balance

This is the name of color correction, as a result of which the white objects in reality in the photograph will be exactly white, and not gray, pale blue or yellow-green. Very often the camera “does not understand” what kind of illumination the scene is being shot: the sun or, say, fluorescent lamps. Usually in the settings of a mobile camera there are both preset values ​​(“sunny”, “cloudy”, “incandescent” and others), and the ability to set the color temperature in Kelvin (on average in the range from 2,000 to 8,000 K). To do this, in Pro mode, you need to find the icon with the WB symbols and move the slider to the right or left, achieving the desired shade in the picture. A little experience is enough to, after assessing the situation, learn to choose the right option from the very first time.

  • How to properly shoot with a smartphone using manual settings: shutter speed, white balance, ISO
  • How to properly shoot with a smartphone using manual settings: shutter speed, white balance, ISO
  • Smartphone immobility as a guarantee of good photos: five tips

Better to use a tripod or tripod. If you are going to get serious about mobile photography, you definitely have to buy them. Taking a long exposure without a tripod is a bad idea.

If no special devices are available, hold the smartphone with both hands to ensure maximum immobility. Most comfortable positions: elbows are pressed tightly against the ribs, you are sitting, kneeling, or lying on your stomach.

Don’t rely on the electronic image stabilization systems found in flagship smartphones. In principle, they can even be turned off, since they consume too much battery power, and do not give much effect.

It is undesirable to press the camera button directly on the smartphone – even movement imperceptible to you can blur the picture. Better to use a timer (you can select it in the application settings for shooting) or a remote control, which sometimes comes with a tripod.

When taking panoramic shots, move your smartphone smoothly, without jerking or tilting.

In order to take high-quality mobile photos in professional mode, it is not enough to understand each setting and function separately – you need to understand how they work together and not be afraid to experiment. Then the results will be appropriate.

It is also important to choose a suitable tool, since not all smartphones shoot the same way, not all allow you to adjust the shooting mode to your liking.


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